EL VY is Matt Berninger from The National, and Brent Knopf from Menomena. Their hot-off-the-press new album Return To The Moon is a doozy. This record has some of the most refreshing music I've heard all year. It's dark, it's exceptional, and it's funky. EL VY are the leather jacket-wearing, greased hair bike-riding vigilantes of the indie scene. I do have a soft spot for The National, considering there was a track played in my car after a date with this stunning blonde, who later stopped answering my texts. So, hopefully Berninger's voice doesn't seduce me (or make me weep) too much in this review.
The opening track is the title track, which was also debuted on Conan. It's a loopy track, that gives perfect insight to what these cats are all about. It's not the meat and potatoes of the record though; just wait.
The second track is a promiscuous and cynical little thing. "I'm The Man To Be" is a frazzled funk song pretending to sound like rock. The guitars shriek, and the bass rumbles, and Berninger accentuates his "A's" in the chorus for some extra splendor. The song gives off the vibe of being hungover at 4 PM in a hotel, hiding behind Ray Bans, still feeling a bit spinny, but not enough to avoid saying something crude to the girl in the short skirt next to you at the concierge. But then the girl slaps you, and you crash. The third track "Paul Is Alive," is you then muttering to yourself about your poor mother and her obsession with Beatlemania, and how love is impermanent especially at the jockey club. These dismal thoughts follow you through "Need A Friend," and "It's A Game." Finally, it gets dark and you take off your hangover shades and stroll the city in "Sleepin' Light." It's very airy, and the weather feels wooly. You see cars pass, trains, buses. But "I can't be alone" is all you seem to string and stitch through your head.
There's also this constant allusion to a "Dee Dee." She's addressed, and she's longed for. Perhaps she's the demise. Perhaps she's the muse. Maybe, she too forgot how to respond to texts. Either way, her multiple references serve as a nice motif to the record.
This record is the epitome of the ravishing blonde who stopped sending me good morning texts. Not in a bad way, though. Return To The Moon embodies emotion - and the clever one-liners that always seem to escape you when you needed them. What really impressed me about this album is the variations. Sure, Berninger is a stud, but Knopf and co. really take the reigns, maneuvering over and around musical obstacles as if they knew the course beforehand. Not to mention, the rhythm section delves into different feels like a prairie dog does holes in the ground. These things really instill a bonded sound that segregates themselves from being just any other band. Okay, and yeah, Berninger is certainly a stud. EL VY become the new Smiths with Return To The Moon. Alright, that's not entirely true, but Berninger has a Morrissey-like personality and Knopf's insertions are right on par with Johnny Marr. In honor of Berninger's profundity, here's a few lines to listen for:
"I'll be in the lobby in the green-colored 'F**k me' shirt."
"I'd never been so alone until I read that the minutemen were dead."
"Don't know what we're waiting for. People like us never change the movie from scene to scene."